In part 1, we looked more at the mental side of things and how to put everything from the past 6 weeks behind the team. Now in part 2, it's time to figure out what has gone wrong on the field and the best way to remedy the problems.
The biggest thing, in my opinion, that has plagued FCD this season has been the fact that there hasn't been one unchanged starting lineup from one game to the next for the whole season. Not even just a starting lineup change, but an integral change at key positions whether it's a different member of the back four or a new player inserted into the midfield trio etc...Now, of course, most of these changes have been brought on by injuries and suspensions rather than coaching decisions, but it all goes back to the fact that if FC Dallas continues the trend of poor discipline and poor health, they're headed for the cellar in the Western Conference.
Return to the 4-5-1 for good
This goes back to consistency, and from everything I've seen and everything players have told me, the 4-5-1 diamond midfield with a 2-way midfield inserted in the middle is the formation of choice and the formation that needs to be stuck with. As we all know by now, Schellas Hyndman has lately been a coach that, for better or worse, will do whatever he can to get his 11 best players on the field and mold his formation around the players available But it has to be pretty clear to everyone that the biggest deficiency has been the ability of Dallas to attack and retain possession through the midfield. Of course this problem will likely be remedied by the return of Ferreira/Villar which should come soon.
Defending as a unit
The FC Dallas defense in late 2010 and early 2011 was a site to behold. It wasn't just the back four, but the entire 11 players on the pitch knowing their roles exactly. It's tough to identify exactly what the problem has been that's allowed 20(!) second half goals, but I think it has more to do with team defending rather than any individually poor performances. As one example, Schellas Hyndman loves to have his wing backs push up into attack, but if the wingers are not willing to defend and stay aware of what's going on behind them, then Loyd and Benitez are hamstrung on how far up the pitch they can go. Things like that can throw off the balance of the rest of the team. It's about defending as 11 players rather than the mindset of "I'm an attacking player, it's up to George John and Matt Hedges to stop goals."
Turning the keys over to Ferreira
It's obvious. Everyone can see where the biggest hole in the lineup is. It shows up in the OPTA Chalkboards and is painfully clear to the eye test. This team needs David Ferreira in the worst way possible. About half of the couple dozen or so responses to my Twitter question about the one biggest key to the second half of the season mentioned David Ferreira.
We saw the smallest glimpse of what El Torito brings to this team in the pre-season tournament and people should be able to rest easy knowing that when Ferreira does return, he comes back as a guy that can return to form very quickly. FC Dallas, perhaps unfortunately, is a team that was built by Schellas Hyndman around David Ferreira and when he returns, it's not hard to envision this team making an immense run at the playoffs. Hopefully he is back within the next few weeks.
Bench: Seitz, Pertuz, Hedgez, Warshaw, Castillo, Leyva, Villar